Organizing an office is no easy task. You’re responsible for the supplies, schedules, and support systems that contribute to your coworkers’ success. Usually, the role of an office manager or HR department is filled by an entire team. Splitting those responsibilities up among team members and using collective insight to handle them can make them seem far more manageable.
But what happens when you’re a one-man office management team or an HR department of one? Without other team members to rely on, your job can seem difficult and time-consuming. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case — with the right mindset, working as a team of one can be just as rewarding as working with a team of many. Find our best strategies for balancing a team workload by yourself below.
Tips for Flying Solo
One of the most important things to keep in mind when working on a one-man team is that not everything has to fall on your shoulders. Think outside the box and discover new ways to make your job a little easier, like the ones below.
Set Regular Goals for Yourself
Hold yourself accountable by regularly setting small, achievable goals (either weekly or monthly). This helps keep you on track and motivates you. Being able to cross off goals allows you to see your progress and gives you a great feeling of accomplishment.
Let Technology do the Dirty Work for You
If the same task takes up hours of your time every week, see if there is a program or application that can do it instead. This allows you to spend more time and energy on the tasks that really matter. Some useful apps to check out are Trello, Scoro, Avaza, and ProWorkflow.
Outsource Projects to Coworkers When Appropriate
If a decision affects the entire office, then it’s worth asking the office what they want first. Planning an event? Ask around — maybe a coworker is interested in hosting. Not sure which venue to book? Ask people in the office where they like to go. Making a poll or sending an email first can make a difficult choice easier in the end.
Do Your Homework
Stay ahead of the curve by researching your field thoroughly. Since your team is just you, it’s up to you to be the most knowledgable about your position. Sign up for newsletters, take online classes, or even read a good old-fashioned book about your job or industry. The extra knowledge could prove helpful, especially if you’ve been feeling stuck lately.
Communicate With the Rest of the Office
When you accomplish something, talk about it! As a one-person team, you are the only person with your unique viewpoint in the office, so make sure your opinion gets heard. Your insight is valuable, even if you’re the only person in your corner.
Understanding Your Priorities
When working by yourself, you may easily feel overwhelmed by your long list of responsibilities and tasks. Understanding which of those items are priorities can shorten your to-do list and reduce stress. Not sure how to decide which task is more important? Try some of these methods below:
On paper or on a whiteboard, make a grid by splitting a square into four equal parts. On the left side, label the top square “important” and the bottom square “not important.” On the top, label the left square “urgent” and the right square “not urgent.” Sort each item on your to-do list into a square. Everything in the top left square should be done immediately. Everything in the top right square needs to be done soon, but not right now. Everything in the bottom left square should be delegated — is there a person or software that can do it for you? Everything in the bottom right square gets deleted from the to-do list. This approach helps break down your massive to-do list into three tinier, more manageable lists.
Will it still matter? If a task isn’t important right now and still won’t be important in a month from now, then it will probably never be a priority. Remove these tasks from your to-do list. They take up valuable headspace that could be devoted to handling more immediate issues.
Is it the task, or is it the process? Sometimes, tasks need to be done over and over again because a process or system in the office isn’t working properly. By fixing the root of the problem, the task can be removed from your to-do list permanently.
Know Your Breaking Point
You are your own best resource. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then you can’t perform your job to the best of your ability. Put yourself first by realizing when you’ve reached your breaking point. To help manage the stress of being a one-person team, try these strategies:
Create Small Breaks for Yourself Throughout the Workday
Step away from your desk and take some deep breaths. Consider having your lunch hour outside of the office to clear your head. Even a short stretch break or a trip to the bathroom can give you the extra time you need to come up with a fresh perspective.
Practice Self-care at Home
At the end of a long workday, unwinding at home can help you hit the refresh button. Light candles, make or order your favorite food, watch some reruns on Netflix — take some time for yourself by doing your favorite activities.
Take Time Off
If you’re feeling burnt out or demotivated, sometimes a day off is the only solution. Use this day as a rest day. Try to distance yourself from your work so you can come back to the office fully recharged.
Working as a one-man office management team or an HR department of one can seem intimidating. But with the right strategies, your job can be just as rewarding as if you had the support of an entire team.